Marquette Wire

Men capture elusive C-USA crown

tom.blair@marquette.edu

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“I thought they really deserved that,” head coach Dave Uhrich said. “I’ve told them over the past eight years, we’ve probably been consistently the best team in the conference, but we’ve never gotten the win.”

This season has been sub par for the Golden Eagles. Finishing fourth at the season-opener Bradley Invite, 27th at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota, and 31st at the Pre-NCAA Nationals at Northern Iowa, the lone bright spot of the season was a first place finish at Williamette University in Portland, Ore.

For them to then come out and convincingly win the C-USA championship — Marquette got four of its top five finishers across the finish line before second-place Cincinnati got even one — was a major change of fortune.

“That’s what was so impressive,” Uhrich said. “That was the third largest margin of victory in the nine years of the conference, and it was the third lowest score.”

Uhrich believes that many people in the conference were surprised by his team’s resoundingly dominant first-place finish.

“We didn’t think anybody was a clear-cut favorite, and I don’t think any other team did,” he said. “So for us to have four of the top eight guys in the race, I’m sure people looked and were pretty surprised.”

Freshman Jeremy Williams finished second overall and first for Marquette with a time of 25:09.20, earning Freshman of the Year honors as well as a spot on the first team All-Conference. He credited his performance to the fact that he and Marquette’s other top three finishers — sophomore Brent Des Roches, sophomore Dave Henderson and senior Jake Remitz — were able to work together throughout the race.

Des Roches — Freshman of the Year at the C-USA 2002 cross country championships — finished fourth overall and second on the team with a time of 25:13.50, earning him a spot on the first team All-Conference. Henderson finished seventh overall and third on the team with a time of 25:20.30, and a spot on second team All-Conference. Remitz finished right behind Henderson with a time of 25:21.00, also earning second team All-Conference honors.

“None of those four guys would’ve done as well without the other three,” Uhrich said. “I was just real proud of all four of them, especially with Jeremy only being a freshman.”

Uhrich also made mention of two seniors on the team who provided a special motivation for the rest of the Golden Eagles: Sal Graziano and Bo Erickson. Both overcame sizable obstacles to still race on Saturday, despite what many would deem good reasons not to run.

“Sal had been battling injuries for the past three weeks, and Bo got really bad food poisoning on Thursday,” Uhrich said. “I was really proud of Bo and Sal. I think those two could really have given up. Both of them battled to the end, and we needed that.”

Uhrich was named Coach of the Year after the meet.

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